Tuesday, 8 January 2013

New Year, New....

Firstly Happy New Year to everyone, I hope that your 2013 is a productive, enjoyable and healthy one. The blog has passed 1,500 views so thank you to the people that come on here and take the time to have a little browse, hopefully you find some of my ramblings interesting and that you can apply some of it to improve and learn a little bit on the massive area that is health and fitness.

Apologies for the lack of blogging towards the end of 2012, I aim to become more consistent with articles throughout 2013. It's a particularly busy time of year for me and the industry as a whole. Christmas has been and gone, the turkey has been devoured and mince pies consumed by the dozen.. and that's just me! The New Year has come around and resolutions have been made.

Speaking to a good friend on NYE, we were talking about resolutions - he hates them as they are so easily broken. Instead he wanted to make 'pledges,' these already signal to me a greater state of intent, something that requires thought and a change of existing attitude.

So I'm sure many of you have had the 'New Year, New You' thoughts running through your mind, and I don't blame you. January is the logical month to break out of the usual routine and make a change/new years revolution/goal or even a pledge! However I believe that self-improvement shouldn't be governed by time. It should be a continual process that is sustainable and one that can be accurately measured with progressional steps.

These are the kind of concepts and beliefs that I look to instill in my personal training clients. Of course, it is not unusual to see a person take a step back and 'fall off the wagon' so to speak. This is human nature, especially when the goalposts are set too far away and are not attainable. It's easy to accept and admit that you have strayed from the path, but it takes a great level of maturity and strength to get back on that path and to reach that desired goal, whatever it may be.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is make those resolutions realistic. 'No Alcohol in 2013,' 'No bread in 2013,' 'I'm going to run 30 miles a week throughout the whole of 2013.' As great as these pledges sound at 00:01 on January 1st 2013, probably after a few sherberts, they are not realistic. If it does happen, I take my hat off to you...

I must admit I have a sweet-tooth, I love chocolate, yes I can curb my craving by eating more magnesium rich foods and the odd square of dark chocolate which is packed with anti-oxidants so it's actually good for me (within reason), but nothing compares to a bar of Dairy Milk (the Oreo version is my favourite at the moment!). To make a resolution to give up chocolate for 2013 would just be stupid, it's not realistic for me. I don't eat chocolate every day, sometimes one slips in my mouth after dinner but I don't think it's a problem. I'd much rather use it as a vehicle for a treat.

I believe that rewards are crucial to keep yourself from falling off that wagon. Whether it's a new pair of shoes, a couple glasses of wine with friends or in my case a few (several) squares bar of Dairy Milk chocolate. Any of these should act as a reward where you can sit back and enjoy, firmly believing that you have earned that reward.

It's one of my '10 habits' that I look to instill in my clients. '10% foods.' These are foods that often don't fit the plan. I believe nutrition does not have to be 100% spot-on for weeks on end. Firstly you will drive yourself insane, and it's not sustainable. What is helps a nutrition plan and it's sustainability is a little reward every now and then (plan it) to keep you on track.

It's exactly the same in the gym environment. Any regular gym user will see that the place is packed in January with the usual 'New Years Resolution-ers,' and by February the numbers slowly tail off as those 5 times a week users disappear into the abyss. Now I'm not criticising these people, I think it's great that they want to make a change and improve, but make it realistic. If you are new to exercise or the gym I understand it can be quite intimidating, lots of machines, gadgets and bits of equipment with plenty of clowns blocking up the squat racks performing bicep curls (note a little bit of venom and a pet hate of mine in the last part of that sentence.)

That's one reason why I like to train my clients outside in the park. There's no queuing for equipment, no muscle-heads in squat racks, no intimidation, it's just you and your client with some proven fitness tools that offer results!

Perhaps after reading this blog you may adjust your resolutions and it's never too late to establish a new goal, whether it be long or short term. I'm a believer in sharing those goals, it keeps you attainable and your mind focused. Last year I ran the London Marathon with a specific time in mind. Having never run a marathon before I thought it was pretty ambitious but I told friends and family as it drove my training on and I continually had that time in my head, and I wouldn't be happy unless I reached that time. I'm a bit of a competitive person if you haven't already established..

Try it tonight, getting your ideas physically down on paper (or your IPad Mini if you're up with the times..) already takes it one step further than just an initial thought process that can get lost in your head.

Here's to 2013!


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